TAMPA, Fla. (AP) – Kawhi Leonard scored 20 points, Paul George added 16 and the Los Angeles Clippers led all the way Tuesday night in a 115-96 victory over the Toronto Raptors.
Terance Mann also scored 20 points and Ivica Zubac had 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Clippers, who remained one game ahead of the Denver Nuggets in the race for third place in the Western Conference. Both teams still have three road games to play. The Nuggets hold the tiebreaker, having won two of three against the Clippers.
Chris Boucher had 16 points and seven rebounds for the Raptors, who played without most of their regular rotation and lost for the seventh time in eight games.
“They were missing a lot of players,” said Leonard, who had seven rebounds and five assists.
Marcus Morris Sr. opened the game with a 3-pointer and the Clippers never lagged behind.
After three 3 points from Rajon Rondo, a few dunks by Zubac and two consecutive baskets from Leonard, the Clippers took a 17-point lead at the end of the first period.
“It’s hard to play these games when their best players aren’t around, but it’s all about us offensively,” said Clippers coach Tyronn Lue, who was not happy with 10 turnovers in the first half. -time and 18 in the match. “The course of our game was rather unstable.
“I thought in the third quarter we played hard and set the tone defensively. We need to be more professional. Until we do that, we’ll have 18, 19 turnovers and you can’t have that, especially when you’re playing against better teams.
Leonard has only had one turn in 30 minutes.
“You want to be in single digits (in turnovers) in the playoffs,” Leonard said. “It just depends on what kind of mindset we want to have. Sometimes we can look really mean, and that’s what we need to clean up. We cannot continue to talk about it. We have to start doing it.
Malachi Flynn’s 3-point cut the margin to eight just before the end of the first half. But the Raptors, using their 35th starting lineup different from the season, never came close in the second half.
Clippers: G Patrick Beverley debuted for the first time since April 8. … FC Serge Ibaka, who have not played since March 14 due to a back injury, hope to play during the end-of-season four-game road trip.
Raptors: Boucher started and played 38 minutes after missing nine games with a sprained left knee. … F Pascal Siakam (outstretched left shoulder) and GF Rodney Hood (fractured finger) did not play after being injured on Sunday night. … G Kyle Lowry, G Fred VanVleet and F OG Anunoby also missed Game 1 after Toronto’s official elimination in the playoffs.
Before the Raptors’ penultimate “home” game in Tampa, Raptors coach Nick Nurse was asked what he missed out on about Toronto.
“I miss the snow, the wind, the cold. I’m from Iowa, ”he half-joked. “But I lack the electricity to play at home, where six hours before a game you could just feel the vibe in the air. And I guess I miss the change of seasons a bit.
Clippers: Play Thursday night in Charlotte.
Raptors: Play Thursday night in Chicago.
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